Sing color and her ived Dîwana Jan life or racism in these so called united states Recently she wrote an article for Buddhadharma about the whiteness of the north american sangha Her s is a voice buddhists must hear and furtheristen to Pretty good read Willis does a phenomenal job merging the psychological and spiritual effects of race upon the tender hearted intellectual I enjoyed her perspective and the way she put into words what is probably very difficult to describe a transition from the faith of her people to finding a faith that worked for her The subtitle is deceptively inear Black Panthers Tibetan Buddhists The ongoing fight for racial euality for Black Americans I don t always find spiritual autobiographies inspiring but this one wasWhat does one do when the oppressor s blood courses in one s own veins How could I run away from myself How to make peace with such horrific originsGiven such history the uestioning of origins though painful was unavoidable p 13 Again the Dalai Lama said Patience is most important But if you are certain there is no other alternative to violent action if you are clear and certain about this then what you must do is this First you must think ovingly and with compassion about the policeman If you think or call him a pig then you must et him shoot you But if you can wish him well and pray for his future happy rebirth then of course you can stop him from harming the others You can stop him by any means necessary We were relieved and amazed p 182Though we all possess innate purity clarity strength and potential to be infinitely wise and compassionate beings still we need someone to encourage us and show us how to manifest those ualities p 305I call myself a
Baptist Buddhist not to be cute or wittybut because is an Buddhist not to be cute or wittybut because it is an description who I feel I am When I was on that planeI felt sheer and utter terror and I called on both traditions for help Long ago Kierkegaard had argued that one doesn t know what one really believes until one is forced to actMost times actually I think of myself as being an African American BuddhistbutI call on both traditions It is a deep response p 311 This title was South Austin Spiritual Book Group s selection for February #2018 Black History Month The Author Even Offered To Fly #Black History Month The author even offered to fly to ead our discussion if I had contacted her earlierOne of the most compelling segments of Jan s whole ife memoir was a decision she made when she was 21 After Jan was invited to be a Black Panther she had to make the choice to either join the Panthers or return to Nepal As it turned out the most important thing was to wait to make that decision After a short while Cornell offered her a Traveling Fellowship to Nepal which she took The way she waited and allowed the dean and her advisors to bring her an offer was illustrative of an older soul to me someone who would really do some good in a profound way Not with guns but with spirit That one decision she made changed the trajectory of Jan s ife forever and for better If she had not taken her time and allowed the winds of heaven to dance between she and her decision she may have ended up dead Dreaming Me by Jan WillisA brilliant child growing up in the Jim Crow South Jan Willis escaped the Ku Klux Klan only to face racism of another kind in an Ivy League university Recruited by the Black Panther Party she chose instead to travel to India and Nepal where she encountered Lama Yeshe a Tibetan monk who would become her mentor and Naples! later one of the most influential Buddhist teachers in the West Through his guidance Jan Willisearned to face down the demons of her past and embrace her whole identity Black Baptist and Buddhist Dreaming Me is her story one that will move anyone who is compelled by the examined The Curious Cases of Cyriack Skinner Grey life Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In changing the world After nearly joining the Black Panthers Willis instead set off to India and developed a deep relationship with a Tibetan spiritual master who would forever change herif. ,
Was I ready to be shot and killed by Alameida County Police Was I ready to serve a prison term Would any of my activities really help to turn things around in this country No matter wasn t it time to stand up Wasn t it time to stop pleading for justice and to take up a gun and demand it A piece or peace The uestions iterally shook my mind p128My choices could not have been farther apart and no assurances of success were offered by either I had always been a good girl eager to please I had always shunned the Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems limelight knowing since early childhood that conspicuousness brings with it danger It was not in my nature to desire to fight back the day the Klan showed up I had wanted to talk I sought the peaceful path p 128Keeping silent has an uncanny way of sharpening one s other senses During the early days of my meditations especially during break times I found my sense of vision in particular to be greatly enhanced I began to take special note of the birds that came each dayI noticed that each bird though the same species had its own distinctive face body and idiosyncracies I noticed I took notice I was astounded each one was different Lama Yeshe had continually reminded me to relax I found that relaxing with the birds was a joy beyond measure Wasn t this the same bliss the Christian mystics had spoken of For the first time I felt I had some understanding of the great joy and peace that St Francis enjoyed with God s creatures This kind of peacefulness was notimited to Buddhism p 220221Tantric Buddhism offers methods for transformation but change doesn t happen overnight It is a gradual process When I ook
back at myself at the timid and insecure self that first arrived before Lama Yeshe canat myself at the timid and insecure self that first arrived before Lama Yeshe I can how I have changed how I have become ess fearful and competent and capable These changes occurred in small increments and over some time The point is to allow them to happen without grasping and attachement to have faith that positive change will come and in the meantime to try to be gentle with yourself It was ike this for all the Buddhas throughout the ages They were each at the beginning of their journeys beings just ike us tossed and pummeled by ordinary fears worries and insecurities And yet with steady and patient practice they each became Awakened Ones They have given us a model of moderation to follow If we practice as they did who knows We might just become the next Buddhas p 226 Remarkable honest at times heart wrenching to see the extent of impact racism has had on her Live Bait life her race Purchased at used book store due to my official affiliation with Baptist through which I am an ordained clergyperson but noonger associate with and unofficial identification with Buddhism where my heart has been many years I found much here than I anticipated and appreciate how both her Baptist roots and Buddhist affiliation found a home within the author s heart and No Strings Attached life Few persons can move on from their faith roots and retain connection with it and the spirit of Buddhism andove of family were instrumental in that wide embrace Again however much here This is the kind of book I read and would delight to meet the author simply to be in his or presence up close and receive wisdom from Up front I am not a fan nor inspired by Wallis religiosity Her take on tantra and christianity are not my cup of tea That said I think this is a valuable work and inspiring memoir of an amazingly intelligent gifted strong and determined woman one that I can imagine being uite inspiring to other women in general and african american women in particular so I heartily recommend it Even if you are not religious I think her story is an important one written in such a way that keeps one s interest throughout I especially respect her forthrightness in discus. Nell University An early experience of marching with Martin Luther King Jr in Birmingham sets her on a path of activism and as so many others did Willis faced the dilemma of violence or peace. .
What an amazing ife and so inspiring I ve seen her speak a couple of times and she s uite the presence It is hard to put this down Jan Willis has had a remarkable ife journey Her voice in this account is modest and calm The reader has to pay attention to what she doesn t say
to grasp her academic achievements Her early earning of Hindi Sanskrit and Tibetan anguages her successful academic careergrasp her academic achievements Her early earning of Hindi Sanskrit and Tibetan anguages her successful academic career story is personal but deeply rooted in a particular history She writes of growing up outside of Birmingham #Alabama In A Time When The KKK #in a time when the KKK unrestricted and when the appearance of black performers on television would be blocked out by the stations intervening in the broadcast by putting out a a sign that said trouble along the cable rather than put a black face out on the airwaves She also documents the healing of the hurt caused by racist experiences through the practice of Tibetan Buddhism She describes her relationships with her Tibetan teachers with a oving care This healing is a Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults lifeong process one which doesn t exclude activism She writes about a choice after college between going to study in Tibet versus joining the Black Panthers Although she chose Tibet she maintains a oyalty to the work of the Panthers and close ties to the Civil rights movement especially through her role as a teacher She does this without repudiating her ambivalent childhood experiences in her parents Black Baptist church Through her example she provides a model of how to combine activism and self care Although understated this is a powerful and moving book The short afterward by Bettina Aptheker is also worth reading she offers perspective on the deep meaning of Jan Willis s narrative of healing A very interesting memoir of a Black woman who grew up in the South and ended up as a professor of Buddhist studies up North I personally was a bit disappointed because I expected Willis story to be a bit about Buddhism and a bit ess about her own academic trajectory I also have I Love My Dad less of a grasp of the Tibetan tradition which is the tradition that Willis is most engaged with Also I d be remiss to not mention that some of Willis descriptions of India did not sit well with me For instance at one point she gets to a poorer region of the country and writes somethingike Finally I was seeing the real India I m sure Willis might phrase some things differently were she to write the same book today and it still kind of detracted from her discussion of her spiritual journey Okay how often has this happened to you You re walking through the All about Us library stacks or the bookstore and suddenly a book catches your eye You pick it up say Hmmmm thisooks interesting and you bring it home and it s awesome That s precisely what happened to me with Dreaming Me From Baptist to Buddhist One Woman s Spiritual JourneyLike many people I have been intrigued by Buddhism and those who practice it And ike many I ve dabbled into reading about it watching videos about people who ive as Buddhists and attempting meditation andor yoga practice thinking of these as a means of dipping a toe into the Eastern spiritual waters But what would it be Noni Speaks Up like to actually devote years of yourife to the true study and practice of Buddhism to be taught by Lamas and then in turn teach Westerners about the Buddhist religion Now imagine doing this after growing up in the Jim Crow south experiencing racism and segregated schools marching with King in Birmingham having a cross burned on your front Handbags and Gladrags lawn because you ve been accepted to Cornell and taking over your college administration building with the Black Panthers This is what Jan Willis has done Her memoir is of course about much than Buddhism Herife story is uniue and captivatingSome of my favorite passagesUnrelenting uestions pummeled my mind. The triumphant story of courage and determination Willis writes movingly of surviving a childhood in an Alabama mining camp in the 1950s to become one of the first black students to attend Cor. ,